Home Featured Chair of $49 billion investment firm wages legal war with ex-girlfriend over alleged assault, defamation, and lavish gifts

Chair of $49 billion investment firm wages legal war with ex-girlfriend over alleged assault, defamation, and lavish gifts

Chair of $49 billion investment firm wages legal war with ex-girlfriend over alleged assault, defamation, and lavish gifts


Genstar Capital Chairman Jean-Pierre “J-P” Conte denied his former longtime girlfriend’s claim that he assaulted her in the Aspen house they shared, counter-suing her for defamation.

Conte on Thursday filed a response to the assault and battery lawsuit that Hillary Thomas, with whom he had a relationship for more than a decade, filed against him last month in Colorado state court. He called her claims “pure fiction.”

“There was absolutely no physical abuse or attack,” Conte’s lawyers said in the filing, adding, “Thomas only came forward with her false account — alleging for the first and only time that Mr. Conte attacked her — after the end of their relationship, when Mr. Conte said no to Ms. Thomas’s increasing demands for money.”

Conte painted a picture of a relationship that revolved around money and lavish gifts, claiming he gave Thomas millions of dollars over the course of their relationship. Under their 2021 separation agreement, he said he paid her $5 million, which he later boosted by at least $500,000 to cover additional expenses.

In his filing, Conte’s lawyers asked the judge to issue an order that would bar Thomas from speaking publicly about the claims in her lawsuit.

“It shows how desperate he is, he’s literally trying to muzzle her,” one of Thomas’s lawyers, Sigrid McCawley of Boies Schiller & Flexner, said in a statement. “Of course he wants her to be silenced, he doesn’t want anybody to know what he did.”

Patricia Glaser, a lawyer for Conte, said he’s saddened to be embroiled in litigation with Thomas. “However, now he needs to protect his family and himself,” she said. “The notion we’re trying to muzzle her is preposterous.”

In her lawsuit, Thomas said that after a night out in January 2022, Conte became “enraged” over a comment she made about his approach to parenting. Later, he dragged her out of bed and pinned her to the floor as he tried to remove a ring from her finger and watch from her wrist while verbally berating her, according to the lawsuit. After she got out from under him, he chased her around the house, Thomas claimed.

According to Conte, the two argued after Thomas insulted his son. He said she refused to let him drive her home and later told him she had slipped and fallen on the ice while walking. That was “how her injuries and bruises, if any, were likely caused,” Conte’s lawyers said.

In her lawsuit, Thomas also accused Conte of terminating her health insurance coverage after the alleged assault and refusing to reimburse her for therapy, even though such coverage was required in the pair’s separation agreement. An interior decorator, Thomas also claimed Conte harmed her professionally by disparaging her to potential clients.

Conte denied those claims in his filing, arguing that he had met the terms of their separation agreement.

San Francisco-based Genstar currently manages about $49 billion in assets, according to its website. It focuses on middle-market companies in the financial, health care, industrial and software sectors.

In addition to his private equity role, Conte serves on the board of trustees at Colgate University, from which he graduated in 1985, Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, the Pan American Development Foundation and the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation. He was part of a group of investors who put up to $100 million to back John Textor’s acquisition of French soccer team Olympique Lyonnais.


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